Mertesacker: Finishing second a miracle for Arsenal

The former Germany international believes the Gunners were fortunate to finish runners-up to Leicester City and is wary of the new signings made by other clubs this summer

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes the Gunners pulled off a miracle in securing a second-place finish in the Premier League last season.

Arsene Wenger’s side pipped north London rivals Tottenham to the runners-up spot on the final day of the season, though they finished 10 points behind eventual winners Leicester City.

And Mertesacker – who is set to be named the club’s new captain following Mikel Arteta’s retirement – believes Arsenal were lucky to end up in the top two.

“The way last season went, we were quite lucky to finish second,” he is quoted as saying in The Sun.

“We turned things around at the end but it was kind of a miracle we finished runners-up.

“What really disappointed us was that Leicester were able to take advantage of all the other big teams suffering and we couldn’t do the same.”

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With three weeks until the opening matches of the season, Arsenal are facing up to having only signed one senior player in the form of Granit Xhaka before they face Liverpool on August 14.

And Mertesacker believes the signings made by their rivals will make the season far more difficult for the Gunners this time around.

“That will be a big motivation next season — to keep up with all those good teams who finished behind us,” he added.

“Of course, those big clubs will be stronger this time. That’s what I expect as they’ll start the season with a lot of new players.

“A lot of transfer business has already been done and it won’t be easy for us this time, especially with all the signings going to the other clubs.”

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